Graphic designer and Guild member Paul Boardman tells us why he decided to launch his own online ethical t-shirt store Bold Face Designs, and is looking for collaborations with charities and other creatives.
As both a graphic designer, and t-shirt fan (I’ve never really got into the flannel shirt thing, though I have flirted with polo shirts in my time) I’ve often been surprised by the lack of choice for anyone wanting a simple graphic t-shirt which didn’t involve phrases like ‘Good Vibes Only’. Having pondered this for longer than anyone really should, I eventually decided to do something about it and simply design some myself. I took most of my inspiration from typography, music, Sheffield, and a bit of light political sloganeering, whilst always trying to keep designs nice and simple.
One of my first designs was the simple phrase ‘Citoyen du monde”, which means ‘World Citizen’ in French. This is my own little response to Theresa May’s (remember her?) claim that “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere”, which although partly a point about what words we use, was also to my mind a quite sinister point which sought to deny our common humanity. This made me think I should sell some t-shirts where 100% of the profits would go to charities related to the t-shirt designs. As an example, all profits from the sale of the ‘Citoyen du monde” design will go to the charity Care4Calais, a volunteer-run refugee charity working with refugees in France and Belgium.
The profits from a number of other designs will go to Rewilding Britain, Shannon Trust, Food Hall, The Guild of St George and Ben’s Centre (the latter three based in Sheffield), plus 20% of profits from all t-shirt sales will be distributed between these charities, too.
In my regular design work I always try to do everything as ethically as possible, so I was pleased to find an online platform which would not only allow me to sell t-shirts on-demand (which means no excess waste), but also in the most environmentally friendly way possible, where all products are made in a 100% renewable-powered factory in the UK (you can even send used t-shirts back to them for recycling, and everything is posted using plastic-free packaging). In future I’m also hoping to work with local community printers for limited edition designs which will be available in stores.
I’m currently working on a number of collaborations with other creatives and organisations which will be added to the store soon – if you’re a creative person (not necessarily a designer, you could be a writer, artist, or anything, really) who’d like to collaborate, or know of a charity which might be interested in collaborating on a design, please do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.
You can reach Paul at [email protected]